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-   -   Pre Ride Muscle Stretches (http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=3751)

dmc 11-16-2010 09:33 PM

Pre Ride Muscle Stretches
First post! Yay!

Im dmc, aka james, from southwest vancouver.

I can thank my middle school gym teachers for most of my knowledge on basic stretches.

I am currently doing two leg stretches that stretch my Quads, Calfs and Hamstrings. I do a couple arm and back stretches also.

The red lines in the image below depict the muscles im stretching.

What are some stretches you gents and ladies do before a good bike ride?

Im not sure if this is gonna sound weird... but my hands are kinda sore from pressing the break levers on my drop handlebars. It must be an unusual motion for me? (The open palm and finger press)

K'Tesh 11-16-2010 10:10 PM

Welcome Dmc
or is that Ride DMC? (sorry, couldn't help myself). Welcome to the Forums.

On your topic...

I don't do stretches before riding, but hand pain? Are we talking numbness, or sharp pains? I did a quick search, and found Sheldon Brown's Pain page...


If the skin of your hands gets sore, cycling gloves can help a great deal. If you ride bare handed, sweat may make your hands slippery, and this can lead you to grip the bars too tightly.

Wrist pain is often casued by poor upper body posture.

It can also be caused by having the saddle angle too low in front: This tends to make you slide forward as you ride, and you wind up using your hands to push yourself back into position.

Numbness of the fingers is a potentially dangerous symptom, often related to carpal tunnel syndrome.

This is one of many problems which can result from bad upper body posture.

The Two Bump Problem
Like your bottom, the heel of your hand has two bumps, with a sort of valley between.

There are important nerves which run through this valley, and it is important to avoid excessive pressure here. One common cause of excess pressure on this "valley" is riding on the top corners of drop bars in such a way that the bar presses here.

As with saddles, the "two bump problem" can actually be exacerbated by excessive padding! If you use thick foam handlebar grips, and/or gloves with too much foam/gel padding, the "bumps" that are best able to carry weight will press through the foam, but the foam in the middle will press back at the valley. Thus, as with saddles, too much foam/gel can worsen the problem it was intended to correct!

Wrist angle.
Numbness can also be related to poor wrist positioning. Generally, the wrist should be held so that the hand is pretty much in line with the forearm. If your hand is bent upward from the forearm, the nerves can get pinched, causing numbness.
Another thing I'd suggest is going in for a bike fitting. Proper fitting, and aftermarket hand grips can improve your riding experience.

Hope this helps you ride more comfortably. :)

Rubberside Down!

Spiffy 11-17-2010 06:17 AM

I don't do any pre-ride stretches, but I'm just a leisure rider... my warm-up is the first few blocks I get on my bike...

but K'Tesh posted a great list of things to look out for...

Haven_kd7yct 11-17-2010 09:14 AM

Like Spiffy, usually I'm a casual rider-- so I use the first few blocks or so as a warm up, then if I feel I need to stretch I stand on the pedals and drop my heels to stretch my calves. That's usually it.

But then again, sometimes I get in "serious rider" mode, so I'll stretch hamstrings, quads, calves, etc after warming up a bit, and again when I get done riding. I qualify "serious riding" as a recreational ride, not a commute ride.

For hands: switch hand positions occasionally. If you're not used to riding with drop bars, you probably aren't used to the hand position for using the brakes yet. Or, if you're like me, you have tendinitis in your hands, so you have to do extra stretches (wide open hand, then fist, usually, then shake it out) for your hand just to keep pain at a minimum anyway.

Welcome to the forums!

Simple Nature 11-17-2010 04:36 PM

Stretches? Do tell more :)

scoot 11-17-2010 06:09 PM

This time of year, I like to stretch the arms of my sweaters so they cover my hands better. That's about it for me. Heh...

thumbprinterr 11-18-2010 09:34 AM

i stretch almost every time i ride.. i usually do about a 10-15 minute yoga routine consisting of...
neck rolls
forward bends
squatting pelvis opener
downward dog/plank/cobra
kneeling lunges
cat flow
bound angle pose
sitting hamstring stretch
sitting hip openers
core work - lower and upper ab strengtheners
childs pose

ready to ride, feeling great! :)

dmc 11-25-2010 07:04 PM

Thanks for the Input
lol K'Tesh. My name is actually based on one of my favorite earlier rap groups Run Dmc, as you had suspected. hehe.

Thumbprinterr, thanks man. Im gonna have to youtube/google some of those stretches you mentioned as I am ignorant.

Haven/K'Tesh, thank you very much for the input on the sore hands. After reading your comments I decided to do some research on hand positioning with drop handlebars. I have realized how ignorant I am when it comes to hand positioning with drop handlebars. I now believe that there is nothing wrong with my hands, rather, there is everything wrong with the way my hands are positioned (plus not being used to it).

In reading the responses, I have come to realize that I dont have a 'warm up' period part of my bike ride. Its been cold outside and im new to biking, so when I leave the house, for some reason I treat it like a 100yard dash....and start out sprinting. lol... Im gonna try integrating stretches and a slower warm up period at the start of my bike ride.

I look forward to revisiting this post in a few months and letting you guys/gals know what worked for me.


On a different subject, once I get more familiar and comfortable with riding around traffic I look forward to biking to downtown portland and experiencing some of the many trails and views that I have been wanting to do.

Bike Rides on Dmc's wish list:
Mt. Tabor to Downtown P-town.
Esplanade/Tom Mccall Waterfront loop.
Springwater Corridor.
Zoo Bomb.
Pittock Mansion.

Just to name a few. =)

Take care and happy holidays,

thumbprinterr 11-26-2010 02:53 PM

no problem. the 10-15 minute warmup period is also essential in my book....

btw there is a teacher at yoga in the pearl who wrote a book on yoga for cyclists and she also teaches a cyclist-specific class (she is an avid rider herself). i'm sure there are other yoga-for-cyclist classes around town (yoga in the pearl is a little on the spendy side).

as for bike positioning, spending $100 or so on a professional bike fit is well worth the money. i went to dimitri at veloce on hawthorne and he did a great job - i was having some knee pain issues that dissolved after a few months of riding w/his setup. been comfortable ever since.

beelnite 10-12-2011 02:19 PM

Gave up pre-ride stretch...
Yep. Gave up the pre-ride stretches - mostly due to time constraints and general irritability before my morning commute.

So instead... I just start out slow. Let myself warmup for 5 minutes or so... longer for longer rides.

Now I stretch AFTER the ride and I hear that it's actually better for your aging muscles! :D

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